Reuters, Published October 08 2013
Boston school bus drivers walk off job; city calls move 'illegal'BOSTON - Boston school bus drivers walked off the job on Tuesday, leaving most of the 33,000 public and private school students served by the system scrambling for alternate ways to travel amid an action that city officials slammed as "illegal."
The United Steelworkers of America Local 8751, which represents about 700 school bus drivers, did not report for work, the Boston Public Schools system said in a statement posted on its website.
Calling the action "illegal," the city said it believed drivers were protesting new bus programs, including an online tool that allows families to track buses' locations in real time.
Officials from the union could not be reached immediately for comment.
Boston Mayor Tom Menino ordered city police to help children get to school, and the city opened its public transportation for free to all students with school identification.
Menino told reporters the city was weighing how to intervene in the strike. The two candidates vying to succeed him also criticized the move, which came as a surprise to city officials.
Just 30 of the 650 buses that transport students to public and private schools were on the road, school officials said, adding that students would not be penalized for arriving late or being absent as a result of the strike.